Wagner mercenaries in Belarus pose threat to Ukraine – UA commander

Serhiy Nayev

Serhiy Nayev

The deployment of Wagner PMC along the Belarusian border with Poland and Lithuania is a threat to Ukraine, Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Serhiy Nayev, said in an interview with RBC-Ukraine on Aug. 14.

Wagner mercenaries, potentially aided by the Belarusian State Security Committee and the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), are likely to focus on vulnerable sections of the border. Their activities could involve disabling technical surveillance equipment and other similar actions, said Nayev.

“In the event of the implementation of this scenario, the adversary may focus their activities on complicating the supply of military material and technical assistance to Ukraine from partner countries,” Nayev emphasized.

Read also: Wagner military drills in Belarus intended to tie down Polish forces, says NRC

There are estimated to be around 6,500 Wagner fighters stationed in Belarus. Nayev anticipates a heightened threat level once they establish sabotage and reconnaissance groups, or ground offensive formations.

“We, in turn, will not wait for this threat to materialize. We are doing everything to enhance our defensive capabilities,” Nayev said.

The Suwalki Gap and the Wagner PMC: What is known

After a failed mutiny attempt in Russia, some Wagner mercenaries ended up in Belarus through an agreement with Belarusiandictator Alexander Lukashenko. He told Russian dictator Vladimir Putin that the Wagner mercenaries were “stressing him out” because of their threats to attack Poland during their July 23 meeting.

He later clarified that he was joking.

Read also: Another Russian army officer flees to Lithuania, BBC reports

More than 100 mercenaries from Wagner PMC had moved towards the Suwalki Gap, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on July 29. The Suwalki Gap is a 100-kilometer stretch between Poland and Lithuania that connects the Baltic states with Poland and the rest of NATO – and also separates the Russian enclave in Kaliningrad Oblast from Belarus.

He called such actions “a dangerous situation” and “a step towards afurther hybrid attack on Poland.”

Morawiecki suggested that Wagner mercenaries would disguise themselves as Belarusian border guards and help illegal migrants enter Poland. In addition, he said that militants could begin to enter Polish territory under the guise of illegal migrants, which would create “additional risks.”

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